Dentist vs Orthodontist for Invisalign?

I bought a "Groupon" for invisalign treatment to save money, but the catch is I have to choose 1 out of 4 providers. I searched the dentists on the invisalign website, and I can either go to a Specialized Orthodontist who is premier preferred, meaning he "has achieved an exceptional level of Invisalign case experience" or I can go to a General Dentist who is Elite preferred, meaning he "has achieved an extraordinary level of Invisalign case experience" Who would you recommend?

Doctor Answers 9

Be confident in your orthodontist or general dentist

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Great question! A general dentist with Elite ranking clearly has a lot of Invisalign experience and may provide care comparable to that provided by an orthodontist. On the other hand an orthodontist with experience in using not only Invisalign but other treatment systems may have a broader approach that would serve you well -particularly if your treament needs are complex. I suggest arranging a consultation with both and selecting the person to do your treatment based on your comfort with not only the doctors, but also their office atmosphere and staff. The likelihood is that either practitioner can meet your expectations. Choose the one in which you feel you have the most confidence!  

Mercer Island Orthodontist

Training counts when it comes to treatment

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I won't dismiss the fact the the general dentist has had more cases of invisaling but the orthodontic training counts for a whole lot more. The orthodontist is able to handle more complex cases.  The idea of an ideal occlusion is better realized with an orthontist and will better understand how to achieve it. The experience that I have had as an orthodontist in my area is seeing  general dentists lining up 6 front teeth and leaving or ignoring a deep bite or a large overjet. Both have the propensity of causing periodontal problems in the future. If you pick a general dentist, ask these questions!

R. Scott Smith, DMD
Springfield Orthodontist

General Dentist or Orthodontist for invisalign

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You have found very qualified general dentists as well as qualified orthodontists on the invisalign site.  They have a great deal of experience in invisalign treatment.  They would all provide very good treatment; however, I would call their offices and set up a consultation with the dentists and see what the Dr. is like personally and how the staff  and the office feels to you.  Go on their websites and look for patient testimonials. You have done the research and know they are highly qualified. Now go see how well you like the Dr. who will be treating you and his or her staff.  This is not just a one time visit and you might as well pick a dental office you enjoy going to!

Robert Fields, DDS
Van Nuys Dentist

There is a big difference!

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There are obviously both orthodontists and general dentists With varying levels of Invisalign experience.  Some general dentists have more experience and therefore achieve better results than some orthodontists who choose not to do Invisalign treatment.  But, in general if you want your teeth straightened properly, an orthodontist has the proper training and experience to evaluate and treat the entire problem.   That is why they are orthodontic SPECIALISTS.  They have a higher level of training and experience in straightening teeth!

I totally disagree with Dr. Straits comments that orthodontists are not experienced to place color-matched composites, follow periodontal status, take detailed impressions, and provide interproximal tooth shaping procedures.  In addition to receiving the same training as general dentists, orthodontists have taken an additional two or three solid years of formal education. Orthodontists do these procedures everyday with great skill and care.

So I would avoid painting with a broad brush.  Many general dentists are certainly able and qualified to treat many kinds Invisalign cases.  No doubt.  But, the orthodontist is uniquely qualified and experienced to recognize and treat the more difficult to correct details of a difficult malocclusion.  That is the big difference.  Easy cases for most general dentists - no problem - go for it.  Difficult cases - many general dentists (trying not to generalize) may not even be able to recognize challenging cases or feel the necessity to treat to the same standards as specialists.  Orthodontists have the experience and tools to overcome challenges and achieve the best result possible.  Most (maybe not all) dentists don't! 

Doug Depew, DMD
Atlanta Orthodontist

Both Orthodontists and General Dentists can do great Invisalign work

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There is no getting around that a specialist is trained for the specialty and very capable to perform their service.  However, many general dentists are well trained in varying aspects of dentistry as well, including orthodontics.  If the tool is the same (Invisalign) the result should be very similar, so the personality of the dentist comes into play.  Since you will need frequent visits, decide who you trust and if you will be able to keep all the appointments needed.  Usually with invisalign, visits are every 6 weeks, but sometimes 4 or 8 weeks.  While skill and trust are important, logistics comes into play with orthodontics.

One unique factor to consider (and I admit that I am biased):  a general dentist skilled and experienced in cosmetics may be able to offer more than an orthodontist.  Often the desired result requires some restorative work as well, and an orthodontist may not know what is possible.

General Dentists are great for traditional cases...

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Im a general dentist and I firmly believe that I do a great job with Invisalign cases within my capability. If you have a severe case or need teeth extracted before or during treatment then a Orthodontist would be a good choice. Orthodontists have been trained for years to do metal brackets and wires and now are adding Invisalign into their practices for the 21st century. So in some cases a general dentist or cosmetic dentist knows more about Invisalign than an orthodontist without any training...

Michael J. Thomas, DDS
Los Angeles Dentist

Skilled, experienced general dentist best especially for adults.

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I have had an Orthodontist on my staff and have observed the progress and finished results of traditional Orthodontic care for 30+years and Invisalign cases for 14years. In my opinion a skilled, experienced, cosmetic general dentist is far superior to most orthodontists in delivering Invisalign. Among the skills requred to do Invisalign are the taking of extremely accurate Crown and Bridge type impressions, the placing, finishing, and polishing of color matched composite attachments (used to enhance tooth movement) and most times the polishing between the teeth using fine hairlike dianmonds, high speed handpieces, and high magnification glasses. Most general dentists use this equipment and exercise these skills as a regular part of practicing cosmetic or restorative dentistry. In addition Periodontal health care is a regular part of general practice and again the general dentist would be in a better position to maintain this during Invisalign orthodontics.  Also in the case of most adult Invisalign cases the person is interested is a cosmetic result and improving their smile.  When a case involves restorative care, veneeers, or tooth replacement, or where the tooth proportions need to be improved a skilled Cosmetic dentist had a tremendous advantage over any Orhodontist.

If the price is the same...

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All other things considered, and orthodontist should have the most training and ability to treat your crowding. On the other hand, they may or may not pay attention to the details of finishing the case. I have seen orthodontists who do in my opinion sub par work, yet they have more training (and would do better than I considering I don't have training). I think it was a matter of sloppyness, and I stopped referring my patients to him.

Any dentist can do what it takes to learn to do good Invisalign treatment. If they pay attention to detail, have a good reputation in your area, they will do just fine. Just as it is with everything, character is very critical to the quality that someone gives you.

M. Andrew Atwood, DDS
Bellevue Dentist

Which Dentist to Choose for Invisalign

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The titles are nice, but you also want someone you relate to and trust. I suggest a consult with both dentists and follow your instincts. They can, most likely, both complete the orthodontics well.

Mickey Bernstein, DDS
Memphis Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.